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A Thanksgiving for 50 Years of Religious Life   versione testuale

from Sr. Rosa Carmela Padilla Alzamora FMM - Grottaferrata, Rome, Italy
 
 "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil; for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—they comfort me." 
(Ps. 23,1-4)
 
 
This psalm and the icon of Jesus the Good Shepherd have accompanied me since 1967 when I made the option to answer the call of the Lord.
 
50 years of consecrated life to God and His kingdom, through the institute I met two FMM sisters who were buying medicine for the missions in the company where I worked. I was attracted by their testimony of simplicity and love for the poorest.  At that time I did not know the life of Francis of Assisi or Mary of Passion.
 
In this journey I have not missed the challenges, difficulties and the joys of the daily mission, which are all part of human life. Yet, for me, FMM has different nuances where I can offer my life according to our charism.
 
The conviction of the vocation, processed in the day to day of my life, was strengthened by recognizing the gratuitousness of the call. Faith, inseparable companion of the way, brings me to gratefulness for the fidelity of the Lord, for His love and mercy. This is my experience of following Him for half a century 
 
This journey involves my dear parents who have respected and supported my life project. My family continues to encourage me as well as the FMMs whom I have met and known, the laity and also many people who have collaborated in the growth of my vocation.
 
I feel invited and challenged to continue the mission from a new experience, to live it in solidarity with the suffering of our current world. I say, like Francis said to his brothers, "Let's get started! Carmela, begin, because so far I have faithfully lived the gospel."
 
"Start!"  To renew following Jesus is to live daily the community, in the continuous process of transformation and conversion that grows in relationship with the Lord and with my sisters.
 
My gratitude to my dear sisters in the province of origin, Peru; to the provinces of Brazil, to Angola, where I was lately, and to Burkina Faso where I was first sent and where my admiration for the cultures of the African continent was concretized.
 
My gratitude to my community of Grottaferrata for their dedication,  full of generosity, welcome, availability and for the silent and prayerful testimony of my sisters of the infirmary. Thanks to the community of Vía Giusti, where I lived unforgettable experiences that led me to know closely the life and mission of the Institute.
 
The treasure envisioned by Mary of Passion, is a gift to the church, wherein life endures pain and perseverance, continues to move me. It fills me with joy belonging to the Institute with its present reality; its prophetic dynamism throughout history and its constant and persevering search to make the Gospel visible in the diverse contexts, situations and challenges in a constantly changing world.
 
I thank you for your presence in the Eucharist. Thank you, Lord!
 
Sr. Rosa Carmela Padilla Alzamora FMM
 
Surely goodness and lovingkindness
will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever
(Ps. 23,6) 
 
 
 
 
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